FAQ: UC Berkeley and BMO Bank of Montreal Agreement

Frequently Asked Questions: UC Berkeley/BMO Bank of Montreal 

General FAQs

What does this relationship mean and what does it include?

This dynamic 10-year agreement designates BMO Bank of Montreal as the Official Bank of UC Berkeley. The agreement builds upon a nearly 20-year relationship between the bank and the university’s athletics department and provides the campus community with scholarships, personal finance education, and financial support for operations and priority student initiatives. BMO Bank of Montreal will also offer faculty, staff, and students banking products and services with special benefits. The agreement does not provide guaranteed banking business to BMO Bank of Montreal. The “Official Bank of UC Berkeley” will not be able to market credit card products to students.

This agreement is one of the most comprehensive relationships of its kind in the country, providing more than $17 million in revenue. An additional $13 million will be invested in the on-campus branch and ATMs, operations and maintenance, banking products and services, and raising the campus community’s awareness about these benefits. As part of the relationship, BMO Bank of Montreal will invest nearly $300,000 per year (or almost $3.2 million over 10 years) in support of student scholarships, as well as in support of the university’s food assistance program, financial literacy education, and paid student internship opportunities. They will also be the official sponsor of 40 summer camp youth scholarships from the Recreational Sports Development Fund.

How will the presence of the relationship be visible on campus?

To make banking on campus convenient for the campus community, BMO Bank of Montreal will provide at least 15 ATMs across campus and a full-service branch on the first floor of the ASUC Student Union. The bank will look to employ UC Berkeley students to staff the branch. 

Additionally, BMO Bank of Montreal will continue to have a presence at California Memorial Stadium and Haas Pavilion through access to stadium signage at Cal games. As with Caltopia and Calapalooza this year, BMO Bank of Montreal will continue to participate in special campus events.

Information about BMO Bank of Montreal banking products and the relationship benefits that are available to UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff are available at www.bankofthewest.com/ucberkeley and by calling 510-649-9191 or 800-488-2265.

Who from Berkeley was involved in reviewing and securing this agreement?

BMO Bank of Montreal was selected as the Official Bank of the University of California, Berkeley following a collaborative process that included a competitive request for proposals, gaining input from an engaged working group that included faculty and student representatives, and responding to the areas that the group identified as most meaningful and beneficial to the campus. It was also reviewed and approved by the University Partnership Program's (UPP) advisory and executive committees, which includes a wide range of campus stakeholders and leaders, and the University of California’s Office of the President (UCOP).

*Members listed at time of review. For a current list of working group members, please see our UPP Working Groups page*

●       Athletics: Ashwin Puri and Justin Panarese

●       California Alumni Association: Matt Terwilliger

●       ASUC Student Union: Kelsey Finn and Theresa Ajari

●       Students: Anthony Abril and Raj Bhargava

●       Recreational Sports: Joe Watz

●       Cal 1 Card: Mary-Ann Spencer Cogan

●       Faculty: Nancy Wallace

●       Procurement: Stacey Templeman

How did this idea come about?

For many years, various departments and units on the UC Berkeley campus have independently entered into separate contracts with multiple financial institutions. This banking relationship consolidates that effort, identifying one financial institution as the preferred bank of UC Berkeley. This relationship is the result of a collaborative effort that included stakeholder engagement, a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process, and extensive contract negotiations.

Why did Berkeley choose BMO Bank of Montreal?

BMO Bank of Montreal was selected as UC Berkeley’s Official Bank due to the company’s strong alignment with the values and mission of the university. BMO Bank of Montreal is committed to the communities it serves and looks to support long-term economic growth and opportunities that enhance quality of life, particularly in the community development areas of financial education, workforce development, entrepreneurship and small business development. The Bank is also committed to public service and has been recognized as a top Corporate Philanthropist in the major markets it serves. In addition, Bank employees give back to their communities through thousands of hours of volunteer service. Beyond community development focus areas, BMO Bank of Montreal is also a major supporter of the arts, education, health and human services, and college athletics.

Why did BMO Bank of Montreal decide to partner with Berkeley?

Similar to UC Berkeley, BMO Bank of Montreal is committed to the communities it serves and looks to support long-term economic growth and opportunities that enhance the quality of life for everyone, particularly in the community development areas of financial education, workforce development, entrepreneurship and small business development. In addition, BMO Bank of Montreal is able to offer banking products well suited to the entire UC Berkeley community, in addition to our on-going support and work with the university, are core foundations of this relationship. BMO Bank of Montreal is committed to preserving a local focus and our award-winning style of relationship banking that ensures superior customer service.  BMO Bank of Montreal was built on a passion for customer service and prudent approach to management that advances the interests of our clients and communities. 

Why did the university decide to look for a relationship with BMO Bank of Montreal?

Two major contracts were expiring within the California Alumni Association (CAA) and Intercollegiate Athletics, making it the ideal time to consider consolidating the two needs and broadening the package the university could offer to financial institutions, while enhancing the banking services we could offer the Berkeley community.

 How much revenue will UC Berkeley receive from the agreement?

The agreement will provide more than $17 million in revenue and support for priority programs, including student scholarships and internships, financial literacy education, and food assistance. An additional $13 million will be invested by BMO Bank of Montreal in the on-campus branch and ATMs, operations and maintenance, banking products and services, and raising the campus community’s awareness about the benefits of the relationship.

Where will the revenue from the agreement go?

Some of the revenue will be returned to the central campus to fund core operations and a portion will go to support priority student programs. This agreement also provides BMO Bank of Montreal with an opportunity to contribute to the UC Berkeley community in meaningful ways through philanthropy, financial literacy education, and community engagement.

Some of the highlights of the agreement include:

●       BMO Bank of Montreal will offer at least two, 10-week summer internships for students per year through 2025. In 2016, students will be paid $18.75 per hour, for an estimated total amount of $7,500 per internship.

●       The agreement will establish a BMO Bank of Montreal Bear Opportunity Endowment to provide merit-based scholarships to students with financial need. The UC Berkeley Financial Aid & Scholarships Office (FASO), in consultation with student representatives, will manage this scholarship program.

●       BMO Bank of Montreal will provide financial support to UC Berkeley’s Bears for Financial Success peer-to-peer financial literacy program offering workshops on several topics related to managing personal finances as a college student.

●      BMO Bank of Montreal will support the UC Berkeley Food Pantry Fund, which provides meals to students facing financial challenges and strives to ensure that all students have access to nutritious food.

●       BMO Bank of Montreal will offer UC Berkeley faculty and staff a ‘Bank at Work’ suite of relationship banking products. The program offers preferred pricing, financial education seminars and personal one-on-one meetings on campus to answer financial questions.

In addition, units with marketing assets (such as Cal Alumni Association, Student Affairs, and Intercollegiate Athletics) will receive a share of the revenue for their contributions to the relationship. For example, Athletics will provide BMO Bank of Montreal with access to stadium and pavilion signage at Cal games, while California Alumni Association will provide promotional space in CALIFORNIA magazine.

Is it all about generating revenue?

Generating funds is just one component – it is part of Berkeley’s broader efforts to develop new sources of revenue in the wake of the state’s massive disinvestment in the UC system. But, equally important is streamlining university business and providing the campus community with access to the best possible products and services.

How long is the agreement?

10 years, through 2025.

Will the Cal 1 Card become a bank card with a bank name and logo on it?

No. Cal 1 Cards will not be co-branded and cannot be linked to BMO Bank of Montreal accounts.  While there will be informational materials about BMO Bank of Montreal services and products available at the Cal 1 Card office and the on-campus branch, members of the campus community will not be able to sign-up for a BMO Bank of Montreal account at the Cal 1 Card office and should instead visit the Berkeley branch to speak with a banker and apply for an account. BMO Bank of Montreal will periodically be at on-campus events as well and can provide information and begin a new account application in person.  Please visit www.bankofthewest.com/ucberkeley for more information.

What does the Bank gain from the relationship with UC Berkeley?

BMO Bank of Montreal has a strong, long-standing relationship with Berkeley; both as a client and as a sponsor of Cal Athletics. With this expanded relationship, BMO Bank of Montreal will provide full-service bank offerings to all those involved in the UC Berkeley community – from students and faculty to staff and alumni. The Bank has worked closely with Berkeley as a client for a number of years, and this initiative serves to simply deepen the existing relationship. The Bank’s values align closely with the university and, through our relationship and shared commitment to financial literacy education, BMO Bank of Montreal is excited about the opportunity to make a positive impact on the campus, such as through the UC Berkeley Food Pantry Fund, which provides emergency food assistance to students in need.

Other banks have been criticized for essentially paying a school to have a monopoly with that school’s students – how is this University Partnership Program (UPP) different from other relationships that banks have with universities, past and present?

UPP been very deliberate about making sure that this relationship is beneficial to the university and its students, faculty and staff. We have worked with a wide-range of campus stakeholders and incorporated students in the decision making of the agreement, with student representatives present from beginning to end throughout the negotiation period. BMO Bank of Montreal is committed to providing students with products and services that are transparent, low-fee, flexible, and make sense for their demographic. BMO Bank of Montreal is also supporting programs that matter to the students, such as the UC Berkeley Food Pantry.

At the same time, we are working with BMO Bank of Montreal to put UC Berkeley students at the top of their class nationwide when it comes to financial literacy and financial education for the future. We aspire to do our part to give Berkeley students education outside of the classroom that will help them throughout their lives.

Finally, this agreement does not provide guaranteed banking business to BMO Bank of Montreal. The “Official Bank of UC Berkeley” will not be able to market credit card products directly to students, and BMO Bank of Montreal will not be involved in financial aid disbursement or have direct access to student records in any way.

Why did UC Berkeley select a bank instead of a credit union?

BMO Bank of Montreal was selected after a competitive request for proposals (RFP). Several credit unions were invited to respond to the RFP, but they declined to participate.

FAQs for Students

What are the benefits for Students?

The UC Berkeley-BMO Bank of Montreal relationship gives students access to leading banking products, services, scholarships, internships, and financial education that match the culture of excellence they experience at one of the world’s premier public universities. These resources are designed to help them transition into financially responsible adults during college, as well as give them the tools to succeed after graduation. While BMO Bank of Montreal is not offering student loans, it is committed to making a college education affordable to UC Berkeley students. Through this agreement, BMO Bank of Montreal will donate more than $1 million over the next 10 years to merit-based scholarships. 

In addition to convenient access to ATMs, branches, online banking, and mobile banking services, the relationship offers students a benefits-rich checking and debit card product. This includes a UC Berkeley Student Checking account with no monthly service charge, plus added free benefits not seen in other student checking accounts, including $6 per month of ATM fee reimbursements and debit card rewards.

For more information about student account features, please visit www.bankofthewest.com/ucberkeley

Are students obligated to bank with BMO Bank of Montreal?

No. It is up to students to choose where they want to bank. For students who choose BMO Bank of Montreal, the Bank is offering a special student account for UC Berkeley students.

Will BMO Bank of Montreal be involved in financial aid disbursements?

No. BMO Bank of Montreal will not be involved in financial aid disbursements or have direct access to student records in any way.

Does BMO Bank of Montreal offer student loans?


FAQs for Employees

What are the benefits for faculty and staff?

Faculty and staff can elect to participate in banking services offered at discounted rates, such as loans, bonuses on money market and CDs, as well as mortgage closing cost credits through BMO Bank of Montreal's exclusive Bank at Work program.

For more information about relationship services available to UC Berkeley faculty and staff, please visit www.bankofthewest.com/ucberkeley

My department has a relationship with a different bank. How will this agreement impact existing banking relationships on campus?

This relationship does not preclude units from entering into or maintaining non-competing agreements with other financial institutions. Individual units within UC Berkeley have strong relationships with a variety of financial service entities, including Intercollegiate Athletics, California Alumni Association, and Cal Recreational Sports. This relationship with BMO Bank of Montreal includes those units and extends to the ASUC Student Union and the Cal 1 Card office to broaden the reach to more aspects of campus life.

If you work on campus and have a question about how your existing banking relationship aligns with this agreement, please contact Aaron Smyth, the University Partnership Program’s Project Specialist at asmyth@berkeley.edu

What is the university doing to ensure they are meeting the updated requirements of the Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?

In October 2015, the Federal Registrar and Department of Education amended ruling updates from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. UC Berkeley is working collaboratively with BMO Bank of Montreal to ensure that the amended requirements of a Tier II institution are completed within the designated ruling dates. A detailed description of requirements and deadline dates are available in our Department of Education Updates